Encyclopedia Britannica and Oxford Dictionary

Set of Encyclopedia Britannica

Oxford Dictionary

I thought of writing this after reading in some blogs that Encyclopedia Britannica has stopped publishing its printed version and will focus more on its digital version instead. Both Savvy365 and Aruni Shapiro had blogged about it. I too have read few pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica set at the Anuradhapura Public Library in 1990 when I was an Advanced Level student. I was fascinated by it and was worried that I couldn’t own a set!

Today I visited http://www.britannica.com website and saw that it includes more facts on my search term (Ronald Reagan) than Wikipedia does. Britannica.com includes more pictures, video and audio clips than Wikipedia but I still prefer Wikipedia as it looks simple and easy to access and has no advertisements.

I think the publishers’ decision to do away with printed version makes sense. With people finding it easy to use online content and most of the online content being free and easy to access, we can understand the decline of demand for printed encyclopedias. People no longer want to spare a big space in their libraries for a set of encyclopedias at a time it could be accesses with a click of a mouse over the net.

I am in love with Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary from the day I used it in early 1990’s. Last November I bought a new copy for myself. But I now worry that this could end up with the same fate as Encyclopedia Britannica in a few more years. I accessed http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/ and feel like accessing it in future than opening the printed version. The same thing will happen to my thesaurus.

I thought I was the only one to use the dictionary for the first time I got it to look for the definitions of vulgar words and terms but understood that it is a universal thing after watching ‘Ink and Incapability’ episode of Blackadder series. There, the Prince Regent uses the world’s first dictionary complied by Dr Samuel Johnson to look for vulgar words. (Blackadder is a popular British comedy where Rowan Atkinson plays the lead role.)

Watch these if you have time. They are hilarious.


One thought on “Encyclopedia Britannica and Oxford Dictionary

  1. There is a donated set at a Polonnaruwa Heritage Library too. Though it is quiet an old set it still holds more resourceful information than what is available in most other books.

    We are on fast forward these days looking for quick and current information updates. Turning pages to find out anything is a thing of the past.


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